Islamabad/Rawalpindi—The government has set a target to produce 26.01 million ton of wheat during the current Rabi season (2016-17) to fulfill the domestic requirements of the staple food as well as to export it. Addressing a press conference after the annual meeting of Federal Committee on Agriculture (FCA), Minister for National Food Security and Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan said wheat crop would be cultivated over 9.12 million hectares of land across the country. Over 25.4 million ton wheat were produced during last season as against the domestic requirements of 25.5 million ton per annum, where as it is expected that over 3 million ton carry forward stocks would also be available for consumption, he said. He said the FCA had fixed the production targets of other seasonal crops including gram, lentil, potatoes, onion and tomatoes to tackle with the domestic consumptions. There were sufficient stocks of agri-inputs including water, fertilizers pesticides and certified seeds were available for the Rabi season, he added. Bosan said meteorological department has forecast low rainfall during the first two months of the Rabi season, besides the irrigation water for crops would be slightly low by 6 percent as compared to the last season.
However, he said there was nothing to worry about as the decrease in irrigation water could be easily managed by improving the irrigations practices and managements. The FCA had reviewed the Kharif crops 2016-17 output situations as all major and minor crops had witnessed significant increase in their output respectively, he added.
He said the FCA had informed about sugarcane production which was estimated at 71.18 million ton during the current season as compared to the production of last year.
Bosan said rice production was estimated 7.58 million ton as the crop had been cultivated over 2.86 million hectors of land during the current season.
The minister said surplus production of potatoes, onions and chilies were achieved during the last season, adding that 3.8 million ton of potatoes were produced against the consumption of 3 million ton. He said about 350,000 ton potatoes were exported, besides exports of chilies and maize production were increased. He informed that mango exports increased as about 100,000 ton of mangoes were exported during the season as compared to the exports of 70,000 ton of last year. The main importers of the mangoes were European Union, Japan, Korea, Australia and middle eastern countries, adding that no intersecption was received during current export season.
Replaying to a question, the minister said government was taking appropriate measures to reduce the cost of production in the country in order to directly benefiting the growers, besides protecting the consumers. It may be recalled that the FCA meeting was attend by agriculture departments of provinces including Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Senior officials of federal departments, officials of State Bank of Pakistan attend the meeting and gave their input for the sowing plan for the next season.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister, National Food Security & Research Sikandar Hayat Khan Bosan inaugurated the “Kissan Mela” held at Pir Mehr Ali Shah Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, here on Tuesday. The Mela was organized by PMAS-AAUR in collaboration with Lok Sanjh Foundation, featured several programs including establishment of different stalls, youth session, tableau by students and a conference on Defending Agricultural & Cultural Diversity.
Speaking on the occasion, he said farmers are the backbone of the country and uplift of the agriculture sector could help strengthen the country’s economy. While visiting the Bio Energy Unit Federal Minister appreciated the efforts of PMAS-AAUR for establishing Bio Energy Unit by using solid waste and recommended that it should be promoted by increasing public awareness and integrating the informal sector to make the current system sustainable and financially viable. Federal Minister said farmers are playing a vital role in improving economy of any country and present government has initiated several agricultural development projects in country to uplift this sector.